You will compete at the Miss New York USA Pageant, how will you prepare the contest? What unique characteristics would you say you bring to the competition?
I will begin by mentally preparing myself for the contest and what may come after it. Preparing myself to be confident and to expect any type of result. I will remain absolutely positive about the entire competition, being excited about what is going to come my way, the people I will meet, the things I will learn, and so on. I think that every woman will bring a special and unique characteristic to the competition. Being someone who grew up in another country, I have experienced different cultures and people, and I will be able to share my life lessons with the people around me, as well as my creative skills, artistically and visually.
Tell me something about yourself and your work. What do you actually do, and have done in the past?
I was originally born in Austria, Vienna where my parents worked before we moved to Amman, Jordan where I grew up! I went to a British school and then graduated from an American school in 2014. I have always been into the arts, I love to paint and draw work with scrap books too. Sports wise, I fell in love with one sport and played it for 9 years and that was gymnastics. Later on I accidentally got into modeling (funny story I actually went to support my friend and ended up being convinced to take a polaroid). I started modeling around then for 2 years and it is honestly one of my greatest sources of happiness and my passion.
On the side, I enjoy going to the gym and biking on sunny days, reading, staying in watching a movie, cooking, and more. My family moved to Staten Island 2 years ago and I studied Interior Design at Suffolk University in Boston, MA, although I am transferring to the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan. I love my major and hope to work/ own my own design firm one day working on commercial design. Last month I qualified as a finalist in a DLF lighting competition which I am very proud of! I love living in New York and exploring the area around me with my trusty professional camera. I am very family oriented; I love to be around family and I am a fan of setting up family reunions here and there. I also love to travel!
Many misses have said that their dream since a child was to participate in a pageant as prestigious as Miss World (or Miss Universe). It this your case ? And if so, why ?
No, not really. Where I grew up in Amman, we did not have pageants so I never really knew of them and their popularity. But I did love to model and I guess if we had such a thing as Miss Jordan for example I probably would have applied to the pageant. I know this because ever since I arrived here I have been thrilled with the idea of applying to Miss New York. That in and of itself was a big rush of excitement for me, so thinking of Miss World or Miss Universe is almost overwhelming! I will focus on the here and now and take things step by step and who knows what will happen. I have loved the build-up and excitement so far and I can’t wait to see where this adventure will take me.
Did you face any moment of disappointment with yourself during the pageant journey, and how did you overcome it?
There was a time where I began to worry over something silly. I guess it was nerves, which is very normal but I started to worry about impressing my friends and family with my performance in Miss New York. I really value the support and the love they have shown me throughout this process and I really want to make them happy by putting in a strong performance. I know now that they will love and support me no matter what, and they will be happy just to see me up there with all these wonderful young women. If I do become a finalist, then all the better!
We’ve all seen the stereotypical portrayals of pageant contestants, a la Miss Congeniality, spreading peace, love and beauty throughout the world. How do you think you'll make a difference?
I’ll make a difference because I am going to get personal with New York and place myself in the vulnerable positions of the people I hope to inspire. I will spread peace through learning, love through unconditional support, and beauty through confidence. I want to not only be the image of success but also the worker who drives people to find their own successes. I have an undying passion for humanitarian work and love for every person, and they will feel it. I will continue to work in community service and use my new position to have an even greater influence on education and care.
I want to share my experiences and talk about my past to show young girls that they can chase their dreams and break through their obstacles. I want to redefine beauty as a concept of our ability to live as a diverse network of people who truly care about one another. I want to directly work with issues such as the homeless, disability and ADA design, foster care, young girls and issues they may face. I want to be a woman who is a reference of hope in a world that all too often leaves many of us hopeless.
What would you advise any young girl out there who has a dream of being a queen one day?
If her dream is to be a queen one day, I’ll tell her to make that dream a reality, to keep fighting for that dream until she reaches it. I would tell her to put herself out there, to set high goals and to keep trying no matter how many times she fails. I have fought the bullies, the misogynists, and the harassers, and I would tell the young girl to know that they will be out there waiting to break her, to tell her that she can’t be the things she wants to be and do the things she wants to do. Only she can prove them wrong, only she can prove to herself that she can be the queen to others that she sees in her own eyes. I would tell her to keep close friends and cherish her family, for they are the ones who will hold her up when she is at her lowest. She should know that she will find so much happiness just doing the thing she loves to do, no matter who tries to foil that. The journey towards our dreams is hard, but there is none more satisfying or more exciting, and nothing more worth giving our all.
Who is your ideal beauty queen and why?
Angelina Jolie. I don’t know many details about her personal life, but I have always seen her conceptualization of the role of a person of influence as something I would like to emulate. This notion of being a powerful woman who is at once career driven, family oriented, and a humanitarian. Those three things inspire me every day. Those are the three things I hope to excel at and act on. I want to be the woman who travels the world trying to intrinsically change the lives of people for the better while raising her own loving family. I want to also devote significant time to my careers in modeling and interior design. If I can someday achieve these three fundamental things and continue to develop them, I will have reached my goals as a beauty queen and a human being.
Thanks to the beautiful Rowena for the interview. Pageants News wishes you all the very best for Miss New York USA pageant.